Descent from the Cross

Brian Kershisnik’s new painting Descent from the Cross captures the tragedy and triumph of the Atonement.

Descent from the CrossPROVO, Utah (March 31, 2014)—A new work of art has joined the hallways of the Joseph Fielding Smith Building. Located in the fourth floor’s east alcove, the work is Descent from the Cross, an enormous oil painting by local artist and BYU alumnus Brian Kershisnik. The painting is on loan from Kershisnik.

The painting depicts Christ as he is being lowered from the cross by his disciples, angels watching on in states of mourning and awe. Kershisnik intends for his painting to inspire greater respect for the miracle of the Atonement. He said, “Confidence in the ultimate success of Christ’s Atonement can at times obscure our appreciation of the creativity, the courage, the risk and the danger of the collaborative redemptive venture made by Jesus and the Father on our behalf in the actual moments that these events were unfolding. I do not want to diminish the terrible tragic courage that stretched beyond our ability to hope and apparently to the very limits of even Jesus’ hoping.”

He continued, “I hope my depiction does not stand in the way of the depths of this shattering tragedy, but rather to draw out the difficulty of those moments that had to be traversed before the good news of the resurrection began to shine fabulously through the opening fissures of our fallen and broken circumstance.”

Visit the College of Humanities’ YouTube channel for a time-lapse recording of Kershisnik’s writing process.

—Samuel Wright (B.A. American Studies ’16)